Harran is one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in the world. It is first documented around 2300 BCE. According to the Book of Genesis, Abraham stayed in Harran sometime around 1900 BCE. It was famous for the worship of Sin, the Moon God. Worship of the Moon, Sun and the planets was popular from 800 BCE to 800 CE.

Harran is famous for its beehive houses, whose design dates back to the 3rd century BCE. They were designed to construct buildings without wood.

The Kale (castle) with a mosque inside is interesting. There was originally a Hittite fortress. Today's castle is from 1059.

The Ulu Cami was built in the 8th century. It has very non-Turkish square minaret. It is said to be the oldest mosque in Turkey. It is also the site of the first Islamic university. On the hill are the ruins of old Harran, dating back 5000 years.

10 km (6 miles) east of Harran is an underground quarry that delivered the stones for the construction of the buildings in Harran.

Another 20 km (12 miles) east is the Seljuk Han el Ba'rur, a caravanserai, built in 1128.

About 12 km (7 miles) north-east of there is Şuayipşehri. The prophet Jethro is supposed to have lived there.

About 20 km (12 miles) north of Şuayıipşehri is the village Soğmatar. It was an ancient center for the worship of the Moon God Sin. There are seven hills around the village with shrines for the Moon, the Sun, and the five planets. In the village is a cave-temple with large figures carved out of the walls.

All pictures are © Dr. Günther Eichhorn, unless otherwise noted.

Ulu Cami Mosque
Ulu Cami, a mosque with a square minaret. (698k)
Square Minaret
The square minaret. (443k)
Details Ulu Cami
Details on the Ulu Cami. (845k)
Ruins Hill Above
Ruins on the hill above the Ulu Cami, dating back as far as 5000 years ago. (790k)
Harran Beehive Houses
Harran with beehive houses. (750k)
Beehive Houses
Beehive houses. (643k)
Inside Beehive Houses
Inside one of the beehive houses. (660k)
Kale Fortress
In the Kale, the fortress. (1032k)
Inside Kale First
Inside the Kale was first a church, then a mosque. You can see some of the layers. (669k)
Round Tower Kale
A round tower in the Kale. (613k)
Huge Cave Underground
The huge cave of the underground quarry. The narrow cut in the wall in the middle is about 15 m (49 ft) high. (667k)
Han El Ba'rur
The Han el Ba'rur caravanserai. (690k)
Şuayipşehri. (908k)
Şuayipşehri. (1217k)
Hills Around Soğmatar
One of the hills around Soğmatar with a worship center. (599k)
Rock-carved Figure Open-air
Rock-carved figure in the open-air temple of Moon God Sin. (759k)
Rock-carved Figure Open-air
Rock-carved figure in the open-air temple of Moon God Sin. (721k)
Assyrian Inscriptions Hill
Assyrian inscriptions on the hill with the Moon God temple. (1040k)
Figures Walls Cave-temple
Figures on the walls of the cave-temple in Soğmatar. (896k)
Figure Wall Cave-temple
Figure on the wall of the cave-temple in Soğmatar. (1053k)
Inscriptions Wall Cave-temple
Inscriptions on the wall of the cave-temple in Soğmatar. (976k)

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Page last updated on Thu Mar 21 09:49:24 2019 (Mountain Standard Time)

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